Home » I Left My Job To Start An Automotive YouTube Channel

I Left My Job To Start An Automotive YouTube Channel

Alanis Youtube Ts
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I left my job to start an automotive YouTube channel. That still sounds weird to say out loud. I had someone ask me the other day where I work, and I couldn’t believe the words leaving my mouth when I said, “I make car videos on YouTube.” That doesn’t sound like a career — certainly not one that pays the bills. But here I am.

For most people, leaving their full-time government marketing job to chase their dreams on YouTube would be an ill-advised career move. The truth is, it’s an uphill battle for me too. There’s no health insurance, no retirement, no guaranteed paycheck. Most people would say: “Keep your full-time job and just ease into it. Maybe in a few years, you will be big enough to make it your full-time gig.”

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I’m not most people: I have an ace up my sleeve. You see, I’m married to Alanis King. She has the relationships with manufacturers, the access to press cars, and the on-screen persona to keep viewers watching. For the past 10 years, I’ve worked in broadcast sports, made commercials for car dealerships, filmed weddings, and until recently, created videos for my local government. Our talents always existed in parallel spaces, but now it feels like our skills complement each other. She writes the scripts and I film and edit. She works with the manufacturers, I work on thumbnails.

To be fair, we didn’t start from nothing.

Alanis Yt Covers

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Around the summer of 2023, there were significant changes at my day job, and I realized that my days making videos for the government were numbered. Alanis and I filmed a few car videos for fun and uploaded them to YouTube. We started with a video comparing the C7 Corvette ZR1 to the C8 Stingray. Weirdly enough, people watched it. We tried again with a video about a 991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. To my surprise, people watched that video too. The wheels were turning in my head.

“Can you really start a YouTube channel in 2024 and make a living?” I thought to myself. It seemed unlikely, because so many of YouTube’s success stories found that success years ago.

The more videos we uploaded, the more people watched. For the first time in years, I felt like my work was actually valuable. In February of this year, Alanis went through a job change and we doubled down on the YouTube content — scheduling a new car for review every week. First we had a Bentley Bentayga, then a Mazda CX-90, a manual Toyota Supra, a Honda Civic Type R, and a Lexus LC 500. By the time our Toyota Prius loaner showed up, I was packing up my government office.

Alanis Nascar Spotter

One of my favorite videos we have made so far is “How I Got a Job in NASCAR With ZERO Experience.” Half joking, I asked Alanis back in December over some Everclear cocktails to find me a NASCAR spotting gig this upcoming season. She asked our friend Brad Perez if he’d let me spot at Circuit of The Americas, and our video idea was born. We had a great time at COTA standing on sketchy scaffolding and calling “left” and “right” over a radio. We even ate tacos and celebrated a top-20 finish after the race. It was the type of weekend that I hope to replicate a few times a year on the YouTube channel. Maybe it’s not spotting next time, but there are so many fun opportunities at a race track — all it takes is the right people to say yes.

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Our goal isn’t to be the biggest stars on YouTube. I don’t need to own my own racetrack or a 30-acre drift compound. That kind of success isn’t realistic, and, to be honest, sounds like more effort than it’s worth. What I do find appealing about YouTube is that I have the opportunity to be my own boss; to make creative decisions and determine my own outcome. If I want to film a car on a Saturday morning, I can do that. If I want to edit videos at midnight on a Tuesday, I can do that. If I want to fly out to the Indy 500 for five days, I will most definitely be doing that.

I want to share some of my behind-the-scenes experiences with you all. I’m hoping that a few times a month, I can chime in here and show you what it’s like to start your own YouTube adventure from scratch. Some of the things we try will work, and some won’t. I think it’s important to try new things while the channel is young so we can determine what — and who — we want to be. I may tell you all about the business and what cars we are driving, but I will leave some things for the imagination. I’m using a pseudonym, after all.

I think that my aspirations on YouTube are similar to a lot of other car enthusiasts: working normal hours to make the ends meet and finally afford those new wheels for your shitbox Miata, doing a track day here or there, and being able to enjoy my passions without being worn out from the week. Most people won’t have the opportunity that I have; the access, the timing, and the convenience of being married to someone whose professional skills complement mine. But this isn’t without its challenges.

I want to be honest: Starting a YouTube channel is a financial disaster. We started uploading last July and got monetized in September. Until now, we have essentially made enough money to cover our household’s monthly Everclear budget. I bought a used Panasonic Lumix S5ii, some L-mount lenses, and a set of DJI wireless microphones to take our production up a notch. The purchase was necessary, but it easily put us in the red and wiped out any AdSense income we acquired. Looking at our growth, we should have 30,000 subs by the end of this year and 60,000 by the end of 2025. In 2026, we might be able to make a profit. The reality is that we need partnerships to make this work until then.

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What does Dave Ramsey say? It’s going to be rice and beans for a while … but I’m not giving up the Everclear.

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Ben
Ben
25 days ago

Even established YouTubers are branching out into Patreon and lately I’ve run across a number of SubStacks. Most of them also have channel merch and run constant sponsorships for each video. I’m hardly an expert (my most successful YouTube channel has double digit subscribers, and I’m convinced most of them are bots), but it seems to me that if you want to make a sustainable living on YouTube these days you need to grab every revenue stream you can.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
24 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Mr Regular did a video recently essentially saying exactly this, and I’ve heard other YouTubers murmuring similar. You’re at the mercy of the algorithm, the whims of the viewerships and whatever is happening on TikTok this week. My gut feeling is the glory days of making a living from automotive YouTube content are over.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
25 days ago

…but do you actually have a cat emoji face IRL?

A pseudonym is one thing, but that would really be committing to the bit.

Don Mynack
Don Mynack
25 days ago

Good luck!

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
25 days ago

I admire the leap to make it full time. I’ve avoided such temptations because I have a pretty good paying gig in industry that has a pension, and I’m afraid of making what was once fun, into work.

I’ll stick to the podcast I’ve been neglecting for the time being.

Best of luck to you both! I enjoy the content so I’ll be sure to keep watching and do my part to keep those subscriber numbers up.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack Stand

We were having luck, then life happened and we haven’t recorded in about 4 years. Whenever we get the mics hot again, I imagine we’ll be fine. It was mostly an excuse to drink/review beer while talking about cars anyways.

Autojunkie
Autojunkie
25 days ago

I’m in! Good luck!

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
25 days ago

YouTube is an interesting game, not great full time unless you have huge contestant numbers. I make videos as a hobby and my channel is on the smaller end (60k subs) but it’s comforting to know that the income doesn’t matter and I can take risks that I wouldn’t otherwise take because it’s not my full time gig. If you want to be sustainable Patreon and YouTube memberships + quality sponsorship’s are the way to go, don’t rely on ad revenue.

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
25 days ago

Welcome Mr Alanis King!

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
25 days ago

Good luck to the both of you. I look forward to future articles

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
25 days ago

Dave Ramsey “advice” is usually something absurdly non-feasible for most listeners. Live your dream and good luck.

Rafael
Rafael
26 days ago

I’m happy for you two, and looking forward to an inside perspective on the batshit science of thumbnails, titles, video duration and whatnot that make the videos stand out (or not). There’s so much interesting behind the scenes stuff on those algorithms that control our lives, and I saw a few videos from other creators, but none on the automotive scene.

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
26 days ago

Oh so the husband is finally pulling back the curtain a little bit. All I can say is im happy you two started a channel but don’t become shills. In the motovlog youtube sphere we had a lot of people who quit their day jobs to become full time youtubers. They’ve become the QVC for motorcycle gear and I dont mean that in a good way. Keep producing good content dont sell your souls and you will keep me as a subscriber.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
26 days ago

LOL cheating and doing it wrong 😛

Usually in cases like this, one spouse keeps the stable job with benefits while the other does the gig shit.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack Stand

Yay it’s always nice when the authors respond to the comments 😀

Good luck 🙂

Noodles Gargamel
Noodles Gargamel
26 days ago

Jack Stand isn’t your real name is it?

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
25 days ago

And all we need now is someone named Flat Tire…

David Lorengo
David Lorengo
26 days ago

Hats off to you guys, I hope it works out beyond your wildest dreams.

Gene1969
Gene1969
26 days ago

You are a brave man to follow your dreams and I salute you. (Same for Alanis) Looking forward to seeing how your videos have changed twenty years from now.

Gene1969
Gene1969
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack Stand

You’re welcome. 🙂

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
26 days ago

Jack Stand is a great pen name. Over on the British car forums, I’m known as Stan Part.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
26 days ago

Why the pseudonym? None of my business, of course, but as a person who has wanted to post videos of our overlanding adventures, I’m wondering if anonymity is a, I don’t know, security measure?

David, Jason and Mercedes seem to be using their default-world identities in Autopian videos, but they were already known entities — almost brands — with their writing.

Interestingly, I have the same Lumix camera. What do you use for in-car filming?

Look forward to more installments.

V10omous
V10omous
26 days ago

Doubly weird since he posted his wife’s real name?

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
26 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Or is it her real name?

Apologies, I’ve been listening to a podcaster who believes in alien space/air/watercraft visiting earth.

Phuzz
Phuzz
25 days ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if King is her maiden name (I have plenty of friends who use theirs for professional purposes), so her government name is Mrs Alanis Stand 😉

Rafael
Rafael
26 days ago

Do you really believe that a man obsessed with taillights would just happen to be named Torch? Wake up, sheeple! His real name is Jason Lucas Bosch, but family conflicts forced him into anonimity.
Mercedes is actually named Stella Park, but the FCA/PSA merger soured the name. David was the only one with a fitting name, but somehow Jimny Rust was too on the nose.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
25 days ago
Reply to  Rafael

And “Adrian” is actually a posh former (disgraced) investment banker from the City named William Paddington IV. But actually does own a Mondial, bought it new in the ’80s, along with an imperial ton of coke.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Weirdly enough, The Bishop’s real name is indeed The Bishop.

Max Johnson
Max Johnson
25 days ago

David’s real name is Rusty

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
25 days ago

It’s plain as day on the birth certificate, issued by the state that Springfield is in.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
25 days ago

I figure “Jack” is not his name, it’s his job.
https://youtu.be/eAb1LPPka64?si=SYqzMzeQBUyIKcn8&t=64

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
25 days ago

Not everybody wants to have their real name plastered all over the Internet.

Besides, it seems like he’ll be mostly behind the scenes while Alanis is the camera-facing one.

TheSixSpeed
TheSixSpeed
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack Stand

Your in car footage looks great! I’m still figuring out the GoPro 12 right now, and it’s interesting that you turn off the stabilization, do you do it in post?

Do you have any recommendations on settings for the in car footage?

TheSixSpeed
TheSixSpeed
26 days ago

As someone currently in the process of breaking into Youtube I do appreciate the insight and honesty of the circumstances that led to your current position.

One thing I will ask is that with the current state of ad earnings on youtube, have ya’ll not started a Patreon? A lot of creators have seemed to employ it nowadays and heck, is that not what the memberships here are anyway? Paid subscriptions seem to be the way forward from I’m seeing.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
25 days ago
Reply to  TheSixSpeed

Tyler Hoover started an OnlyFans and I heard that went really well.

Wally_World_JB
Wally_World_JB
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack Stand

Or…you get to produce the crossover PPV event everyone wants:

The Autopian Corporate Retreat and Subscriber Experience to Cleetus’ Freedom Factory.

I would 100% burn me some sweet, sweet PTO to be a part of THAT!

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